Collaborative website combines vets' resources

Thursday - 6/30/2011, 12:15pm EDT

Koby Langley, senior advisor to the deputy assistant secretary, Defense Department

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By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

The National Resource Directory website represents how collaboration between three large agencies can bring wide-ranging services to servicemembers, wounded warriors and their families.

The site, started in 2008, consolidates information from the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, as well as resources from federal, state and local governments and private, not-for-profits. NRD.gov serves as an aggregator and currently lists about 13,000 resources on benefits, employment, housing, education and homelessness.

"We now live in an era of collaboration. And in governance particularly, as there's increasing budgetary constraints, we have to figure out a way to work together," said Koby Langley, senior advisor to the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for wounded warrior care and transition policy.

The website has a communications advisory board with representatives from the three agencies. The board members make decisions about online content and pre-screen organizations before they are listed on the website.

Every week, employees from each agency meets to discuss how to make the website better and to review user feedback.

"There's no substitute for just sitting down and talking," he said.

The users are another partner in the collaboration. Langley said users can suggest new resources directly through the website.

The success of NRD.gov can be translated to other agencies as long as agencies keep in mind that users are looking for services, and it doesn't matter if it's from one agency or another.

"(Users) don't see us as individual agencies. They see us as one federal government," Langley said. "I think so long as you have good people who keep that in mind, this kind of collaboration can happen anywhere."